[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Bridgeport 9-26-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-04, approved 9-26-2006. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Personnel policies — See Ch. 78.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Borough of Bridgeport Official English Ordinance."
The people of the Borough of Bridgeport find and declare:
That the English language is the common language of the Borough of Bridgeport, of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and of the United States.
That the use of a common language removes barriers of misunderstanding and helps to unify the people of the Borough of Bridgeport, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States and helps to enable the full economic and civic participation of all its citizens, regardless of national origin, creed, race or other characteristics, and thus a compelling governmental interest exists in promoting, preserving and strengthening the use of the English language.
That proficiency in the English language, as well as in languages other than the English language, benefits the Borough of Bridgeport both economically and culturally and should be encouraged.
That in addition to any other ways to promote proficiency in the English language, the government of the Borough of Bridgeport can promote proficiency in English by using the English language in its official actions and activities.
That in today's modern society, the Borough of Bridgeport may also need to protect and preserve the rights of those who speak only the English language to use or obtain governmental programs and benefits.
That the government of the Borough of Bridgeport can reduce costs and promote efficiency in its roles as an employer and as a government of the people by using the English language in its official actions and activities.
The English language is the official language of the Borough of Bridgeport.
The Borough Council, Mayor, and officials of the Borough of Bridgeport shall take all steps necessary to ensure that the role of English as the common language of the Borough of Bridgeport is preserved and enhanced.
The government of the Borough of Bridgeport shall make no policy that diminishes or ignores the role of English as the common language of the Borough of Bridgeport.
Official actions of the Borough of Bridgeport that bind or commit the Borough of Bridgeport or that give the appearance of presenting the official views or position of the Borough of Bridgeport shall be taken in the English language and in no other language. Unofficial or nonbinding translations or explanations of official actions may be provided separately in languages other than English, if they are appropriately labeled as such and reference is made to a method to obtain the official action; unless otherwise required by federal law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, no person has a right to such an unofficial or nonbinding translation or explanation, and no liability or commitment of the Borough of Bridgeport shall be based on such a translation or explanation.
No ordinance, decree, program or policy of the Borough of Bridgeport or any of its subdivisions shall require the use of any language other than English for any documents, regulations, orders, transactions, proceedings, meetings, programs, or publications, except as provided in § 60-4.
A person who speaks only the English language shall be eligible to participate in all programs, benefits and opportunities, including employment, provided by the Borough of Bridgeport and its subdivisions, except when required to speak another language as provided in § 60-4.
No law, ordinance, decree, program or policy of the Borough of Bridgeport or any of its subdivisions shall penalize or impair the rights, obligations or opportunities available to any person solely because a person speaks only the English language.
The Borough of Bridgeport and its subdivisions may use a language other than English for any of the following purposes, whether or not the use would be considered part of an official action:
To teach or encourage the learning of languages other than English.
To protect the public health or safety.
To teach English to those who are not fluent in the language.
To comply with the Native American Languages Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Voting Rights Act, or any other federal law or law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
To protect the rights of criminal defendants and victims of crime.
To promote trade, commerce and tourism.
To create or promote mottos or designations, inscribe public monuments, and perform other acts involving the customary use of a language other than English.
To utilize terms of art or terms or phrases from other languages which are commonly used in communications otherwise in English.
The declaration and use of English as the official language of the Borough of Bridgeport should not be construed as infringing upon the rights of any person to use a language other than English in private communications or actions, including the right of government officials (including elected officials) to communicate with others while not performing official actions of the Borough of Bridgeport.
Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted as conflicting with the statutes of the United States or the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.